University of Southern California

SCampus Student Guidebook


Earthquake Safety

USC has an award-winning emergency management program that addresses mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery from earthquakes. The university has taken appropriate steps to reduce safety risks to students, staff and faculty in the event of an earthquake. The majority of earthquakes are minor and cause little damage or injury. However, every student should be aware of the university’s special procedures and plans in the event of a major earthquake.

Before the Earthquake

Become familiar with emergency procedures in your residence hall or off-campus housing area.

Keep a personal emergency kit in your residence and car. The kit should include the following items:

  • a small amount of non-perishable food and water
  • first aid supplies and a first aid instruction book
  • flashlight and AM/FM radio with extra batteries
  • personal hygiene supplies, extra eye glasses and medication
  • emergency whistle and blanket
  • phone number of out-of-state relative that all family members will use to communicate after an earthquake
  • small amount of cash

You may put together your own kit or buy a pre-assembled kit from one of the vendors often used on campus. The following disaster supply vendor offers a discount to USC employees and students who are purchasing kits, supplies and services for personal use:

  • SOS Survival Products
    (800) 479-7998
    Discount code – CL0185

Make your residence earthquake-safe by following these simple steps:

  • Ensure that nothing heavy or breakable is stored high up in the room, including bicycles, stereo or television equipment or other heavy items.
  • Ensure that tall bookcases are bolted to the wall and secure computers, televisions and stereo equipment with Velcro, straps or quake putty.
  • Secure hanging plants and heavy pictures with closed eye hooks and install latches on cabinet doors.
  • Locate safe spots and danger spots in your room. Safe spots include: under a table or desk, or near an interior wall away from shelves and windows. Danger spots include: near windows, glass doors, mirrors, hanging objects, tall unsecured furniture and kitchen areas.
  • Become familiar with alternate exit routes in the building and with the emergency assembly point outside the building. Keep all exit routes clear and unblocked.

During the Earthquake

Remain calm. Do not rush outside. Many earthquake injuries occur due to falling debris just outside doorways or near outside walls.

  • If you are indoors, drop, cover and hold on under a sturdy table or desk.
  • If there is no shelter spot, crouch near an interior wall away from windows, large furniture and light fixtures. You do not need to stand in a doorway. Doorways offer no greater protection than any other area.
  • If you are outdoors, move away from buildings, utility wires, trees and other overhead hazards. Stay in an open area.
  • If you are driving, pull carefully to the side of the road and stop. Stay inside your car until the shaking stops and only resume driving if it is safe to do so.
  • If you are in a classroom or auditorium, drop, cover and hold under the desk or down between the row of seats well below the top part of the seats. The top of the seats will serve to break the fall of any debris that may come loose from the ceiling. Do not rush for the exit or attempt to leave the building, since heavy objects may be falling in your path.

After the Earthquake

  • Be prepared for aftershocks.
  • Wear sturdy shoes to avoid injury from broken glass.
  • Do not use the elevators.
  • Do not use telephones except in a serious emergency.
  • Assist others in the area.
  • Report injuries or damages to the nearest emergency response team or to the Department of Public Safety: (213) 740-4321 for UPC; (323) 442-1000 for HSC.
  • Evacuate the building until it has been assessed for damage. Follow these appropriate evacuation procedures:
    • Turn off all electrical equipment.
    • Bring emergency supplies, warm clothing and purses/wallets with you.
    • Do not leave anyone behind; assist those with disabilities.
    • Close all doors behind you.
    • Use the stairs, not the elevators.
    • Assemble in a safe outdoor area.
  • Do not re-enter the building until it has been assessed by inspectors. Cooperate with emergency response teams.
  • Listen to radios for emergency information (KNX 1070 AM) or call the USC Emergency Information Line at (213) 740-9233.
  • Information on the status of the university will be posted online at
  • Register for Trojans Alert for emergency notifications via text messages and email (

Important Websites include:

One comment on “Earthquake Safety”

  1. USC to Participate in Great California Shakeout | ATVN Says:

    [...] A full list of tips can be found in the 2011-2012 SCampus. [...]

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